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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Moment I had, what shall I say? the Pleasure or the pain of your Letter of 25 of Octr. As a Letter from my dearest Freind it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe: but the Complaints in it gave me more pain than I can express—this is the third Letter I have recd. in this complaining style. the former two I have not answer'd.—I had Endeavour'd to answer them.—I have wrote several answers, but upon a review, they appear'd to be such I could not send. One was angry, another was full of Greif, and the third with Melancholy, so that I burnt them all.1—if you write me in this style I shall leave of writing intirely, it kills me. Can Professions of Esteem be Wanting from me to you? Can Protestation of affection be necessary? can tokens of Remembrance be desir'd? The very Idea of this sickens me. Am I not wretched Enough, in this Banishment, without this. What Course shall I take to convince you that my Heart is warm? you doubt, it seems.—shall I declare it? shall I swear to it?—Would you doubt it the less?—And is it possible you should doubt it? I know it is not?—If I could once believe it possible, I cannot answer for the Consequences.—But I beg you would never more write to me in such a strain for it really makes me unhappy.
Be assured that no time nor place, can change my heart: but that I think so often & so much, of the Blessings from which I am seperated as to be too unmindful of those who accompany me, & that I write to you so often as my Duty will permit.
I am extremely obliged to the Comte D'Estaing and his officers for their Politeness to you, and am very Glad you have had an opportunity, of seing so much of the french Nation. The accounts from all hands agree that there was an agreable intercourse, & happy harmony upon the whole between the inhabitants and the Fleet, the more this Nation is known, & the more their Language is understood, the more narrow Prejudices will wear away. British Fleet and Armys, are very different from theirs. in Point of Temperance and Politeness there is no Comparison.
This is not a correct Copy, but you will pardon it, because it is done by an Hand as dear to you as to your
[signed] John Adams
{ 139 }
RC (Adams Papers); in JQA's hand except for last paragraph and signature. Text is given here in literal style.
1. One of them may survive, however, as the unfinished LbC of 3 Dec., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0112

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-26

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hon'd Mamma

it is now with Great Pleasure that I now sit down to write to you & many a time since I came here I have done the same though you say in several Letters that [i.e. to] My Pappa that you have not rec'd but two or three Letters from My Pappa or me but Pappa rec'd a Letter from Uncle Smith Dated November the 3th1 in which he says that he had taken a Number of Letters for the family Yours have been pretty lucky but I have not rec'd but 2 Letters from you however My Pappa has rec'd several from you in which you complain'd a great deal of my Pappa's not writing to you but be assured that it is not that for he has wrote a great number of Letters to you & I have given you once a Long history of my Voyage2 which I will do another opportunity for at Present it would be too long & I am in a hurry & so I must Leave you for this time. I am with every sentiment of Esteem & respects your dutiful son
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree near Boston.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. Not found, but see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 9 Nov., above.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0113

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

How lonely are my days? How solitary are my Nights? Secluded from all Society but my two Little Boys, and my domesticks, by the Mountains of snow which surround me I could almost fancy myself in Greenland. We have had four of the coldest Days I ever knew, and they were followed by the severest snow storm I ever remember, the wind blowing like a Hurricane for 15 or 20 hours renderd it imposible for Man or Beast to live abroad, and has blocked up the roads so that they are impassible.
A week ago I parted with my Daughter at the request of our P[lymout]h Friends to spend a month with them, so that I am solitary indeed.
{ 140 }
Can the best of Friends recollect that for 14 years past, I have not spent a whole winter alone. Some part of the Dismal Season has heretofore been Mitigated and Softned by the Social converse and participation of the Friend of my youth.
How insupportable the Idea that 3000 leigues, and the vast ocean now devide us—but devide only our persons for the Heart of my Friend is in the Bosom of his partner. More than half a score years has so rivetted it there, that the Fabrick which contains it must crumble into Dust, e'er the particles can be seperated.

“For in one fate, our Hearts our fortunes

And our Beings blend.”

I cannot discribe to you How much I was affected the other day with a Scotch song which was sung to me by a young Lady in order to divert a Melancholy hour, but it had a quite different Effect, and the Native Simplicity of it, had all the power of a well wrought Tradidy [tragedy]. When I could conquer my Sensibility I beg'd the song, and Master Charles has learnt it and consoles his Mamma by singing it to her. I will enclose it to you. It has Beauties in it to me, which an indifferent person would not feel perhaps—

His very foot has Musick in't,

As he comes up the stairs.

How oft has my Heart danced to the sound of that Musick?

And shall I see his face again?

And shall I hear him speak?

Gracious Heaven hear and answer my daily petition, “by banishing all my Grief.”
I am sometimes quite discouraged from writing. So many vessels are taken, that there is Little chance of a Letters reaching your Hands. That I meet with so few returns is a circumstance that lies heavy at my Heart. If this finds its way to you, it will go by the Alliance. By her I have wrote before, she has not yet saild, and I love to amuse myself with my pen, and pour out some of the tender sentiments of a Heart over flowing with affection, not for the Eye of a cruel Enemy who no doubt would ridicule every Humane and Social Sentiment long ago grown Callous to the finer sensibilities—but for the sympathetick Heart that Beats in unison with
[signed] Portias
PS I beleive Mr. Blodget the Bearer of this1 will have a Bill upon you, in favour of yours.
{ 141 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Decr. 27. 1778.”
1. Nathan Blodget, purser of the Alliance; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:372–373. See, further, AA to JA, 2 Jan. 1779, below.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/